The Regulatory Reform Agenda
Repeal, replace or modify MSHA Regulations
On February 24, 2017 President Donald Trump signed executive order 13777 titled “Enforcing the regulatory reform agenda” with the goal of eliminating unnecessarily burdensome regulations. This order requires each agency to create a Regulatory Reform Task Force which is to be led by a Regulatory Reform Officer (RRO). These teams report directly to each agency head on potential adjustments and modifications to existing regulations. The order is over one year old, meaning that these task forces and officers should have already been appointed by now, as it was required to be implemented no later than 60 days after it was signed. In the last year, some of the teams have been busier than others.
The Current Status
While OSHA and a few other agencies have not been terribly vocal, on March 1, 2018 MSHA began actively seeking assistance in identifying regulations that could be repealed, replaced or modified without affecting the safety of miners. They even provided an online resource for miners, mine safety officers and other stakeholders to submit their recommendations for consideration. You can view the submissions so far here. Some of these submissions are well thought out and are quite convincing. However, the task force has final say and what actually gets approved will depend on them and the RRO.
This gives the industry the ability to take a realistic look at how they are regulated. Nothing ever moves quickly when you’re dealing with laws and government agencies but many hope that this is an opportunity to proactively influence how the industry is being regulated. Having a more nimble and practical approach to regulations would allow agencies to keep up with the latest technologies. In the last 10 years we’ve seen more technological advancement than we saw in the previous 100 years. Technological advancement moves exponentially so reviewing regulations more often as tools and equipment change.
Not Everyone Is So Convinced
This initiative doesn’t have everyone convinced that it will do as much good as it is intended to, though. The American Bar Association states on their website that “Executive Order 13777, thus, appears not to streamline the regulatory process but to add redundancies”. Since most agencies are already required to review their regulations on a periodic basis in one form or another, people see this as just adding another level of regulatory review to those that already exist.
We want to hear your opinions on this – do you think this will result in meaningful action? And do you intend to provide input to MSHA or OSHA? Tag us on social media and tell us your thoughts!
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